Gimme likes Christmas - she thinks it is the one time of year when everything aligns to treat her in the style she would like to be accustomed. Starting on the 21st, she got a present every day for seven days. The first gift was a new collar, and then a new toy every day for six days. Gimme definitely thinks Christmas should last longer - especially now since I've figured out the parameters of her ideal toy. I hit the mark with 4 out of 6. She'll play with any toys, but particularly likes long floppy ones. If its too stiff, she will de-stuff-afy it. Not to destroy it, but so it flops more to her liking. Her favorite this year was the new duck toy - a 2 foot long body and 18" wings and legs. She really prances around when she carries it about (she has to, to keep all its body parts up off the floor).
Her first gift: the day I brought home 3 new collars and let her pick the one she wanted. While she enjoyed picking the collar and does think the one she selected is very pretty on her - she thinks I'm particularly obtuse, because I keep asking her to do it again, so I can be sure its the one she really wants. First I laid them out side by side and told her to pick one. She immediately went to the light blue one with the orange edging and nosed at it a lot. So I rearranged them and asked her to pick again. This resulted in her sighing dramatically, then going over to nose the same one again. So I rearranged them and asked her to do it yet again. She sat back staring at me, occasionally rolling her eyes, and sometimes staring at the ceiling in her best, "why me, Lord?" look. When I urged her to pick the one she wanted to keep, she sighed loudly, rolled her eyes again and in a clear "whatever..." went over and picked up the purple collar! She looked me full in the eyes, certainly to be sure I was paying attention, and then dramatically threw the purple collar to the floor. I sez, "so you don't want the purple one?" She sat back looking at me with an open-mouthed dumb-founded look, before going over to nose at the royal blue collar until it fell on the floor. I said, "so I guess you want the light blue collar". To which she rolled her eyes even more dramatically, then slowwwwwly and deliberately picked up the first one she had selected and placed it in my hand. To seal the selection process, she placed her paw on top of my hand and the collar. When I said, "so this is it?", she hung her head low and walked out of the room in disgust. She clearly wishes I could "hear" her the way Tonya does. She loves me, but is more and more convinced I might not be entirely bright.
Christmas Eve and Christmas day were interesting, to say the least. I thought I had everything planned perfectly. I arrived to the family gathering a little late, but still early enough for the important stuff. Put presents under the tree and put my world-famous mushrooms with the other snack foods. Then I went to the car and got my change of clothes. The festivities were fun and I ended up with the same gift I started with. This was fine with me, since I don't bring stuff I wouldn't want. I'd made up little "I love my Dad" picture frames with pictures of my Dad for my brothers and sisters, which were a hit.
Later I went to get Gimme from the car only to discover I'd locked it. So I went upstairs to get the keys out of my pants pocket, only to find my youngest nieces had been playing in the guest room and had tossed the place. TV stereotyping of FBI agents has nothing on these kids. It took me awhile to find my pants and the keys weren't in them! I got help from the kids' parents and we checked every nook and cranny in the room looking for my keys and restoring it to its original state. Then five of us went around checking everything we could in my parents' large house. Several people took flashlights and looked outside between my car and the house in case the keys had dropped out of my pocket. Finally I called USAA and insisted they send a locksmith to unlock my car, since Gimme had now been inside for 6 hours. It took the guy 2 hours to come and Gimme was relieved to get out.
Needless to say I didn't sleep well, tossing and turning all night. I knew I had to work on Friday and yet couldn't even go home until I got new keys made by Nissan, whenever they opened. Then Gimme would have to wait in the car all day while I transitioned my largest account. Finally I expected to be home trying to get in the house in the cold and dark. Mom insisted on looking for the keys and I just let her. Afterall, 5 of us had looked, so I didn't hold out any hope she'd be successful. She handed them to me five minutes later! Never underestimate an 84yo great-great-grandmother.
On Christmas day we joined my sister and family for dinner. Then Mom and I went to see my Dad at the memory care facility. It was sad to watch my Mom trying to make a Christmas moment, when my Dad, who has Alzheimers, was really out of it and didn't care about the presents or attention. I do think he liked the fuzzy blanket I brought him, since sleeping is really his favorite thing to do.
Since then I've been busy transitioning my accounts from Christmas to Valentines. Not one of the Valentine sets was packed correctly, making each transition take twice as long as usual. I still have one to finish because not all of the order has even arrived. Meanwhile Gimme and I have been doing extra training to make up for the lack of exercise with my long work days. She does love training doncha know.
I was so mentally fried after work on Monday, I completely forgot to go to nosework class. Fortunately I was able to get a make-up on Tuesday night. The exercises were relatively simple. For the first search there were 6 hides, we each got to set some. I set a relatively easy inaccessible hide inside a crate and then another under the edge of the wall. My inaccessible hide turned out to be very hard because another person set another hide just 7 feet away. Inaccessible and converging odor is a hard pair of challenges. For the second search there were just four hides, I set mine in the middle of the room in a large crack in the floor.
The instructor followed the dogs for the first search and placed a piece of blue painters' tape on the floor wherever there was a change of behavior (COB). Of course the idea was to help us see where the COB occurs. The goal being for us to note it and then if the dog has trouble locating a hide, encourage them to go to where you saw the COB. The second search there was no painters' tape put down, we were supposed to verbally identify where the COB was.
Gimme did the best of all the dogs. In particular she did well with the floor crack hide. This is an advanced concept for dogs. We spend so much time putting the hides on things, so the dogs tend to look for it on things. Most of these dogs hadn't even seen a floor crack hide. A couple of them had difficulty with the hide under the edge of the wall and they tended to spend a lot of time checking out the chair a foot away. It was like they accidentally found it while detailing the nearest chair leg.
Of course, it makes sense Gimme would do better. She goes to a Advanced Competition class for NW3 dogs. This class was Advanced and most of the dogs haven't even competed at NW2 level. There was one really fast Doberman though. Her handler never even rewarded her, just saying "its there" when the dog was close to it and then the dog was off to find another. I don't quite see how this will work in competition when the handler doesn't know where the hides are. Interesting...
Well, tomorrow is another day and another year. Meanwhile, Gimme wants another training session, then there is a movie I want to watch. Seeya next year...